Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

The Philippines brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, objecting to China's claims to maritime rights in the disputed waters. The tribunal agreed that China had no legal authority to claim the waters, and was infringing on the sovereign rights of the Philippines.

Donald Trump is firing back at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she made disparaging comments about him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb" comments about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":

Donald Trump wrapped up his public tryout of potential vice presidential candidates in Indiana Tuesday night with Gov. Mike Pence giving the final audition.

The Indiana governor's stock as Trump's possible running mate is believed to be on the rise, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also atop the list. Sources tell NPR the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is close to making a decision, which he's widely expected to announce by Friday.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The unassuming hero of Jonas Karlsson's clever, Kafkaesque parable is the opposite of a malcontent. Despite scant education, a limited social life, and no prospects for success as it is usually defined, he's that rarity, a most happy fella with an amazing ability to content himself with very little. But one day, returning to his barebones flat from his dead-end, part-time job at a video store, he finds an astronomical bill from an entity called W.R.D. He assumes it's a scam. Actually, it is more sinister-- and it forces him to take a good hard look at his life and values.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Donald Trump picked a military town — Virginia Beach, Va. — to give a speech Monday on how he would go about overhauling the Department of Veterans Affairs if elected.

He blamed the Obama administration for a string of scandals at the VA during the past two years, and claimed that his rival, Hillary Clinton, has downplayed the problems and won't fix them.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages

Congress May Skip Payroll Tax Showdown This Time

Feb 15, 2012

Congress appears to have avoided another showdown over the payroll tax reduction that has been pumping billions of dollars back into the economy. There may even be a deal ahead on jobless benefits and payments to Medicare doctors.

The last time Congress extended the payroll tax holiday was in December, when it passed a two-month extension tied to two other measures. One extended unemployment benefits, and the second fixed a formula by which Medicare doctors are paid. The Medicare fix would stop big cuts in reimbursements for doctors.

But Democrats had rallied around the tax-cut extension and the jobless benefits. They had pushed for the three-part package since November.

"All three need to move forward — that's our position," House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland said Tuesday. "Our concern is going to be that somehow they would deal with one-third of what we ought to do and leave the other two behind. We don't want to put at risk those who are unemployed and fear that they're going to fall off the unemployment rolls. And, we certainly don't want to put at risk Medicare availability for seniors."

But on the Republican side, the paramount goal was to offset any additional spending without cutting too deeply into defense.

"If this were something that I thought would really stimulate economic growth, then you don't have to pay for it," said Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona. "But the evidence is pretty clear that these kinds of one-time only or short-term stimulus, they're not really successful at putting people back to work."

That's essentially where it has all stood for weeks. One side argued: Pay for the tax cuts and unemployment insurance within budgets. The other side argued that they should be paid for later.

Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said both sides are right — sort of.

"Generally, unemployment insurance is found to be one of the things with the highest multiplier effects, or bang for buck, when it's put into the economy," she said.

That's because people on unemployment insurance are likely to spend their entire check, she said. But the payroll tax cut is different.

"The payroll tax cut is not so well targeted; it goes to people who need it and will spend it right away," she said. "It also goes to many people who don't, which means they'll pocket it, they'll put it in the bank. It's nice to have that extra money to save, but it doesn't do a whole lot to boost the recovery in the short term."

Then there was talk of something uncommon on Capitol Hill these days: compromise.

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, first floated the trial balloon about a payroll tax cut that wouldn't have to be paid for, and that produced a response that isn't heard often from Democrats on Capitol Hill.

"I think Speaker Boehner is right," said Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin. "At this point, let us extend the payroll tax cut. But the last point I will make: The extension of unemployment benefits is of equal value to the economy and immeasurable value to those who are out of work and struggling to find a job."

Almost as Durbin was saying that, a compromise was beginning to take shape, with both parties taking part.

The tentative deal would have the payroll tax reduction — worth about $100 billion a year — added to the deficit. But the deal would find enough spending cuts to offset the cost of changes to unemployment insurance and the doctor reimbursement fix in the short run.

In a contentious closed-door meeting, House Republican leaders tried to sell the plan to those who remained unconvinced.

"We've got to be honest with the American people," said Florida Rep. Allen West. "We've got to be held accountable for some of the things we're doing that could have long-term ramifications. So I've got to think about this. I've got to pray about it tonight. But right now this doesn't look like a good deal for the American people."

But MacGuineas, with the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said this is only one compromise among many that Congress will have to make, and soon.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.